Oh, Dallas. How do you like it there?

Photo by Trey Ratcliff

I lived in New York City for 26 years with a couple of years in Connecticut. Three months ago, I moved to Allen, TX. New York City and the Northern suburbs of Dallas, which Allen is a part of,  are quite different. This is not a NYC bashing article. Just my feelings on my living here and why I love it.

“Wait, where is Allen?” I’ve been asked that question more than a dozen time. My standard reply “It’s a little North of Dallas,” and after a brief pause, “Oh, Dallas, How do you like it there?”  I’ve been asked that question by my NYC friends, Priceline.com coworkers, family members, new neighbors and even from random people at the extra huge Walmart. The rest of this post will answer the question “How do you like it there?”

For the majority of my life, I lived in Queens, in a large apartment complex with about 20 to 30 units ( apartments ranging from studios to 2 bedrooms) per floor with some buildings over 25 floors. There were people from every country you can imagine – India, China, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Finland – you name a country, I’ve lived on the same floor with someone from there and have smelled their cuisine. Allen is a little different in that regard. Living in a house in a sub-division kind of isolates you from your neighbors. You don’t really see anyone else that you don’t make the effort to see. With all the dinner parties, Diwali parties, birthday parties, you go from house to your garage to their house and back into you garage. You are part of this small connected network that rotates gatherings from one venue to another, but the people you see are the same.

As far as other nationalities goes, at least in Allen, there are white people, Mexicans, some African-Americans and Indians. Way more Indians that I would have expected. Not saying its a bad thing, just what it is. I’ve lived a few streets from Jackson Heights, aka Jai Kishan Heights, as my good friend at work used to say, so lots of brown people isn’t a new thing for me.

“But the heat, how do you stand the heat? Doesn’t it get over 100 for days and days.”

We moved here on June 30th and closed on our house on July 11th. And I won’t mince words. It gets HOT. First time I saw signs of Level 3 draught, water conservation in effect, I had to Google what it meant for us.  It meant you can only water your lawn once every two weeks. Never saw that in NYC. Never had a lawn in NYC. We are fortunate enough to have the luxury to schedule around it, this Summer we spent 4 weeks in either San Diego or back up in the Northeast. The times that we were here and the programmable thermometer reached above 100,  we spent most of it inside with the AC or in the car with the AC or in the pool. Just as you adjust to the foot of snow, you adjust to 110 degrees of heat.

But I’ve digressed enough, so here’s my thoughts on “How do you like it there?”

The people here are extremely nice. Southern hospitality has taken on a new meaning for me. One of our first lunch outings was at Abuelo’s, and one of the waiter their held two doors open at the same time all stretched out, and not just for my pregnant wife, but for me as well. We’ve gone back there to eat about half a dozen times already in the past three months. The food is pretty good too. I’ve been offered my grocery bag ( I had just 1 bag ) to be carried just because I was holding a baby as well. Everyone says hello and smiles. My first run outside, folks that were running on the opposite side of the street waived hi as they ran past me. I’ve talked with more random people in 3 months than I have in the past decade. I am not the personality who seeks out conversation with strangers.

Everything is very relaxed here. People do not honk a millisecond after the light turns green. Folks take the time to chat with you while standing at the grocery store line. There is no mad rush to get back to to hustle.  No knocking over of coffee and bumping that lady out of the way so you can catch the subway to get to the job you probably don’t like a few minutes early. I can see a beautiful sunset every evening and lots of star in the clear sky at night.

It’s true, our quality of life, one of the main reason we made the difficult choice of moving out here, is better. I am not worried about cleaning massive amounts of snow that has piled up on my car, or tolls at the bridges going up to $20 per trip. Gas is cheaper, the roads are cleaner and smoother, speed limit is 75mph on most highways, state income tax is 0, real estate is relatively inexpensive, the school systems are top rated, Allen high school football is a major force, the temperature is in the mid 70s in late October.

I can go on and on about this. But to answer the question. “I love it here.”

Baiju Thakkar (  Living life without regrets )

– I still love my NY teams: Mets, Giants, NY Rangers, and the Knicks.